Roxie Munro
Roxie Munro talks about her new book, Rodent Rascals.

Common Core State Standards
I Like to Read Books
Holiday House eBooks


Buy the Book:
Barnes & Noble

How to Order

Read an Excerpt

Educators' Guide

CCSS Questions


27 Magic Words
by Sharelle Byars Moranville

Trade Binding | 208 pages | 5 1/2 x 8 1/4 | US$ 16.95
ISBN: 9780823436576 | 07-30-2016

Also available as an ebook.

Grade: FIFTH | Age: 8 to 12

Themes: Bullies, Coming of Age, Death, Dying & Grief, Girl Interest, Emotions & Feelings
Recommendations: A, K*, SLJ*

CCSS Codes:
W.6.4, 5, 6, 9, 9a, 10
SL.6.1, 1c, 1d, 3, 4, 6
RL.6.1, 2, 3 , 4, 5, 6, 9, 10
L.6.3, 4 ,4a, 4b, 4c, 4d, 5, 6

About the Book

An irrepressible eleven-year-old with a vibrant imagination must reconcile her fantasies with reality in this beautifully written novel about facing the future.

Although Kobi's parents sailed into a storm at sea five years ago, she knows they are alive. If she says "Avanti!" she can see them. Now that her life is being turned upside down again, she will need the magic words her mother left behind more than ever. Instead of living with wealthy Grandmamma in Paris, Kobi and her sister will temporarily stay in Des Moines, Iowa. There, the girls will, as Uncle Wim puts it, "live like normal kids for a change." To fit in at her new school Kobi tells lies that soon catch up with her.

In a heart-wrenching climax, she must confront not only the untruths she has told others but the stories she has made herself believe. Only then will she be able to grieve for her parents and move on with her life.


★"Kobi's world is vividly portrayed, shimmering with just a soupçon of subtle magic from the opening pages. . . . Both tragic and uplifting, this winsome tale perfectly depicts some of the many aspects of magic.—Kirkus Reviews, starred review

★ “This well-honed middle grade title packs a considerable emotional punch. . . . Highly recommended.--School Library Journal, starred review

Classroom Discussion Questions with CCSS:

1. What are the twenty-seven "magic words" Kobi's mom gave her before she died? Look the words up in the dictionary and define each word. RL.6-8.1, 4/L.6-8.4

2. How do "magic words" affect Kobi in positive and negative ways? RL.6-8.1.3

3. Describe two settings in the story. How does the author use setting to evoke feelings or atmosphere? How does the setting affect meaning in the story? RL.6-8.1

4. What is the theme of 27 Magic Words? Explain the author's "statement" about those ideas. RL.6-8.2

Educators' Guide
An Educator's Guide featuring Instructional Standards.